Vulnerability and Self-Honesty
"There's a whole
category of people
who miss out by not
to be weird enough."
Alain de Botton
Vulnerability is downright scary.
But in order to gain the ability to
learn from our mistakes, to have fun with our inherent
hypocrisy, and to have a good sense of humor in regards to our
fallibility as an imperfect species, we must first have the
capacity to be vulnerable, which requires brutal self-honesty
and ruthless self-interrogation.
Brutal self-honesty and ruthless self-interrogation forces us to
face our own demons. It pushes us to confront our most personal
foibles, fallibilities, and unhealthy propensities and to
question all authorities, especially our own.
It forces our head over the abyss of
the human condition, searing our soul with the unavoidable
blazing flame of truth: impermanence.
It slaps us across the face with its
absolute mockery of our happiness ever being a thing that can be
permanent. It insouciantly rattles off the almighty cosmic joke,
making damn certain we realize we're the butt-end of that joke.
Which is why a particularly effective strategy at achieving a
state of vulnerability and self-honesty is to use our sense of
humor. When we laugh at ourselves we loosen ourselves up. The
screws of our seriousness get unscrewed by the genius of our
We suddenly go from being the
butt-end of the joke, to laughing at the joke, thus turning the
tables on the jokes power over us, and thus on power itself.
When we can laugh at ourselves we
are allowing ourselves to be "weird," to tackle the dilemma of
the self from another angle, to impose a state of existential
vulnerability that transforms the soul into a prism where the
light of truth can shine through and take the form of the
rainbow of self-honesty.
And Pain is the terribly-beautiful, shiny-red, thorny and jagged
little pill that we learn to swallow, again and again, with a
devil-may-care, spiritually masochistic smile on our
the Jagged Red Pill of Truth
"The less people
the more stubbornly they
Without the painful red pill of truth, we're stuck with the
all-too-comfortable blue pill of deception.
The blue pill gets stuck in our
throat, causing no end of blockages, suppressions, oppressions,
and depressions. The blue pill is a beacon of deception, lodged
in our throat chakra, jamming all frequencies and preventing us
from speaking our truth and from being impeccable with our word.
The blue pill is a magnet for lies.
And lies are sexy, scandalous
scoundrels. They float around in a foggy smoke, seducing us with
false kindness, kissing us just the right way, and lulling us
into brain-washable complacency and a heightened state of
Under the blue pill's seduction, we
are pawns wallowing in self-incurred immaturity. Taking the red
pill dislodges the blue pill, thus clearing the passage and
opening all frequencies to the truth.
"Enlightenment is man's emergence from self-incurred immaturity.
Immaturity is the inability to use one's own understanding
without the guidance of another." –Immanuel Kant
But seeker of enlightenment beware, the teacher who longs to jam
even the red pill down your throat. The choice must be yours,
and yours alone. A good teacher will guide you to the red pill,
but he/she should never force it down your throat.
Like Adyashanti said,
"My speaking is meant to shake
you awake, not to tell you how to dream better."
You have to want to dream better
"The function of the imagination
is not to make strange things settled, so much as to make
settled things strange."
Swallowing the red pill is a
frightening prospect. It shatters worldviews and dissolves
It replaces answers with questions.
It upends all apple carts: psychological, physical, and
spiritual. It reconditions preconditioning.
It cleanses the doors of perception.
It shatters the glassy essence of cognitive dissonance; the
shards of which splinter off and sting like mad in the fleshy
heart of truth.
It leaves your soul naked,
vulnerable, and blank-slated in the angry eye of an apocalyptic
existential-hurricane of uncertainty. It reveals that you were
always God in hiding. And the heavy burden of that
prospect alone can be a soul-crushing responsibility.
But like Seneca said,
"A gem cannot be polished
without friction, nor a man perfected without trials."
"There are plenty of
difficult obstacles in your path.
Don't allow yourself to
become one of them."
This one is arguably the most painful.
The death of
the ego is no walk in
the park. It is more like a walk through a dark night of the
soul surrounded by an angry abyss that's really just the
small-minded version of you not wanting to lose what it feels is
the essence of you: your ego.
But the ego is not the essence of
you, and it never was.
The real you is an interdependent
cosmic force, an interconnected frequency, a unified cosmic
agent going through the motions of being a mind-body-soul.
"But the worst enemy you can
meet will always be yourself; you lie in wait for yourself
in caverns and forests.
Lonely one, you are going the
way to yourself! And your way goes past yourself, and past
your seven devils! You will be a heretic to yourself and
witch and soothsayer and fool and doubter and unholy one and
You must be ready to burn
yourself in your own flame: how could you become new, if you
had not first become ashes?"
Ego annihilation leads to the ashes
from which the phoenix of the soul rises.
But first there must be descent.
There must be a tearing part, a burning down, a sacred
disintegration. But the task of severance is a repentance. It
speaks the language of vicissitude.
It howls inside you like old night.
It moves through you like fresh smoke. It is the blood of a full
moon's howl. It is a cruel wheel spinning its cycle of animal
angst, of species-crimson. It is in this moment.
Here, at the crux of the cross, at
the knot on the wood, where the crooked trees mock your
martyrdom and all your ancestors can smell the scent of your
heart's full blossom, blinking in and out of the ether,
screaming at you,
"It is time! There may not be
another life to love."
And so you descend. And so you cross
the Rubicon of the self, bridging the gap between Man and
Overman above the Existential Black Hole.
And so you lose yourself in the blue
smoke, in the loose shadows. You scream out like Yin. Your fists
clinch like Yang. The fish feed on their tails. The snakes do
the same. It's like heaven and hell in your body.
People can smell the animal in you,
the wild-self coming to life.
Death hums a eulogy in the trees,
and you die a small death: the exulting death of your ego. And
then you're quiet as a doll, vulnerable, astonished, and
cataleptic from the fall.
But now you're a force of
nature first, a person second.
And the Earth has finally discovered
its salvation: the awakened human soul.
Back to Consciousness and Human Energy
"In conclusion, there is no
Things will go on as they
getting weirder all the
Robert Anton Wilson
Fearless forgiveness is scary because it is uncomfortable on an
It's both a tearing down of the
walls that protect us from the world and an unlocking of the
prison door of our expectations. When we tear down the walls,
fear is paramount and must be faced, and that can be dreadfully
But like Farrah Gray said,
"Comfort is the enemy of
So it behooves us to get
Like Neo waking up from
the Matrix for the first time.
When we unlock the door to our prison, the way the world truly
is despite us, and in spite of our expectations and worldview,
becomes the harsh Desert of the Real, which only we can
face and resolve for ourselves.
But at least now we have the
double-edged sword of fearless forgiveness to cut through all
the red tape.
Forgiveness hurts because it is the ultimate letting go. It's a
deep, visceral acceptance of the way things are, regardless of
our need for things to be a certain way.
It's a decisive shedding of the
burden of what we cannot control. Tantamount to Buddhist
non-attachment, fearless forgiveness is a reckoning of
existential proportions that turns the tables on the concept of
control itself. It gives us permission to authentically and
sincerely go with the flow.
With fearless forgiveness it
suddenly becomes okay that the game of life is "rigged," because
our fearlessness is a willingness to transform whatever
negative, counterproductive, unhealthy shit gets thrown at us
into something positive, progressive, and healthy.
And our forgiveness is a giant sigh
saying, "It's okay." It gives us the insurmountable courage to
transform demons into diamonds, fear into courage, anger into
strength, and disdain into compassion.
Fearless forgiveness is allowing ourselves to be intimate with
the cosmos as it truly exists.
Like Dōgen said,
is intimacy with all
And intimacy with all things is just
as likely to hurt as it is to feel good.
But that is perfectly okay. It gives
us permission to take the good with the bad, the unhealthy with
the healthy, and the immoral with the moral.
And then it gives us the courage to
transform it all into our own amazing thing:
art, adventure, love.